Wollongong’s Souva King Closes Doors, Leaving a Culinary Void

Photo Credit: Illawarra Mercury Adam McLean

The King has departed.

Long live the King!

Wollongong mourns the loss of its beloved eatery as the Souva King on Kembla Street closed its doors last weekend.

In terms of heart-wrenching restaurant closures, this rates a perfect five out of five sad emojis, comparable to the closure of Oscar’s Spanish deli in Warrawong. Many have already come to terms with this loss, having seen Frank Kaadan, the Souva King himself, wiping away a tear in a farewell video on Facebook last week.

For those unaware, the opportunity to savor one last perfect falafel roll or rotisserie-grilled lamb has vanished. There was no better kebab, or rather souva, in the Illawarra. Frank’s catchphrase, “It’s not a kebab, it’s a souva,” was emblazoned on the wall near his celebrity autographs and Melbourne gig posters.

Wollongong’s Souva King, Frank Kaadan, announced the closure to his devoted patrons. While you can replay Frank’s video, it won’t resurrect his souvlaki house at its Kembla Street location where he started in September 2012, educating Wollongong diners in the art of Melbourne-style souvlaki.

The term “diners” is used loosely as this was both a late-night and daytime spot. This mix of fine dining and street food was part of its charm. Frank’s lamb, with its salty, charred perfection, challenged any upscale restaurant. Frank, a Collingwood supporter, showed generosity even to rival fans, inviting Carlton supporters for a final meal in his farewell video.

A few visits to the Souva King and Frank would treat you like an old friend, passionately discussing his lamb cookery and offering samples. Though you might have gone for a falafel, burger, or the “atomic bomb” (meat on chips like a halal snack pack), Frank’s enthusiasm for his lamb was infectious. He was a lamb-evangelist, confident in his product. I missed my last chance for a meal there, not having visited this year.

Frank’s video hints at a potential new location, but nothing is certain. Frank, if you’re reading this, it’s been too long. Big guy from the Mercury, always got the falafel with chili sauce, and you’d usually convince me to get some lamb too. Let’s catch up, reminisce, and maybe you’ve got a few boxes of lamb left in the freezer?